At 5: 14pm on Tuesday, January 12th, the country of Haiti was rocked by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The capital city of Port-au-Prince was all but destroyed. Initial predictions are that hundred of thousands of people may have died. Communication lines are down, aid ministries such as the Red Cross are depleted of supplies, and the airport can’t handle the amount of air traffic needed from foreign countries bringing aid. Things are, in a word, terrible.
Pat Robertson, a minister and host of the 700 Club, made some extremely insensitive comments on national television that have gone viral on the Internet concerning the Haiti earthquake. His central message was that Haiti made a pact with the devil and this was their punishment for doing so. I’m not sure the accuracy of these claims, but that’s not even the critical point. The point is that the comments were insensitive, untimely, and lacked all sense of Jesus-like compassion. But I’m not writing to judge the comments. I’m writing to tell you how we as the Church should respond to the comments.
We should pray. And love. And do. And pray.
We should pray for Pat Robertson, and not publicly chastise him. We don’t agree with much of what he says, but he’s still part of the Church, and the Church isn’t perfect. None of us is perfect – yet Jesus Christ loves us as a body and as individuals. We need to pray for and love Mr. Robertson at this time. It’s not easy, but it’s what we’re called to do. And yes, he does need confronted, but it needs to be done in love and in private. Matthew 18.15 tells us that we should address him one-on-one, and if he doesn’t listen then three-on-one, and if he still doesn’t listen, then address it before the local church. Nowhere does it say to blast him on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook. In fact, we’re told not to do this very thing in in Ephesians 4.1-7.
In the video that is circulating the web, Franklin Graham is interviewed and asked for his response to Robertson’s comments, and he basically says “Ok, it’s said, right or wrong, there’s work to do.” And he’s exactly right. It’s a shame that this may cause a distraction to what is really going on in Haiti, which brings me to the next point.
The Church needs to act (and indeed, we are, in many, many ways). We’ve got to pray for the people in Haiti, for the rescue workers, for the survivors, for the law enforcement, and ultimately for rebuilding and revival. We’ve got to give money to the causes. If we’re able, we need to put feet on the ground and hands in the dirt, literally becoming the hands and feet of Jesus.
We’ve got to move past the critiques of Pat Robertson and focus all available energy and prayer to the people in Haiti. That, Jack, is what it means to be a Christ-follower and to love this world. Reminds me of the the song I quoted in the last letter I wrote to you. Till next time, Jack.